Vester had to check the locks on hi scrap yard gates. It was a Sunday morning, early, and we were on our way to the lake for a day of fishing. His business was on the “wrong side of the tracks” and lately, somebody had broken through his main gate and hauled off some copper pipe.
I pulled up in front of the main entrance and Vester said, “Look there, a fellow in the vacant lot next to my yard is taking down a pup tent. Lemme go check my lock.”
I stepped out of my pickup and walked along Vester’s fence toward the stranger. He looked up while he stuffed his little shelter into a duffel bag, “Good morning,” he called. “Fine morning isn’t it?”
The old man’s eyes were bright, and his silver hair matched his semi-trimmed mustache. “Did you sleep here overnight?” I asked.
“Sure did. It was such a nice night, and the homeless shelter was full up. Oh excuse me, my name is Morrie, and you are?”
“Ah, oh I’m John Smith.” And the old man looked at me kinda doubtful. “I realize it sounds a bit fictitious but yes, that’s my real name. Call me John if you like. My friend over there, that’s Vester, he owns the scrap yard. We stopped by to check his gate locks;somebody vandalized the place a few weeks ago.
“Nice to meet you John. It’s been quiet around here all night. Nobody came by except a cat, and he disappeared when an old hound traipsed by.”
Vester, finished his lock checking and walked over to us. I said, “Vester, this is Morrie. He spent the night in the lot and said all was quiet all night long.”
“How do you do, Morrie, you stayed out here all night long?”
“Don’t you have a place to live?”
“Yes. I have a little pup tent here in my duffel.”
“You a drinker Morrie?”
“Been dry for 16 years now.”
“I’m old. Aspirin helps. That’s all I take.”
“I’m looking to hire somebody to watch my scrap yard seven nights a week. Maybe we should talk?”
“You have a toilet in there?”
“Yes, and a small kitchen with a tiny bedroom off to one side. Perhaps we should discuss a business arrangement. Where are you headed now, someplace for breakfast?”
“It’s Sunday morning,” Morrie said and winked his right eye twice. “I’m on my way to church.”
“What about breakfast?”
“Oh I’ll have plenty to eat; I help serve the breakfast meal every Sunday, before the service. Would you gentlemen car to join me? We can chat, drink coffee, and eat some eggs and bacon at the same time.”
“Toss your bag in the truck Morrie. Me and John could murder a fresh cup of coffee about now. Let’s go to church.”